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Juraj Slafkovský: Antoine Roussel would give him more money than Nick Suzuki
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Yesterday, colleague Marc-Olivier Cook wrote an excellent article on Juraj Slafkovský’s consistency over the last few weeks. The young Slovak’s emergence since December has been truly impressive, but in the last twenty games or so, he’s reached a whole new level.

Now, more than ever, we understand what the Habs saw in Slaf when it came time to draft him first overall in 2022.

As was the case earlier this year, then, we’re starting to think about Slafkovský’s future in the city. We’re wondering what his real ceiling will look like, but also, we’re almost wondering if this won’t be his team in the future.

But above all, we’re wondering what his contract will look like… and the subject continues to provoke reactions.

Last night, for example, Antoine Roussel discussed Slaf‘s case on 98.5 FM, and in addition to saying that he’s ready to give him an eight-year deal, he even went so far as to say that he’d be ready to give Slafkovský a bigger contract than the one currently held by Nick Suzuki (who signed for eight years and $63 million before the 2021-22 season).

In fact, Roussel explains his point by saying that he’s convinced Slafkovský will continue to progress next year and that the Habs need to sign him as soon as possible. That said, considering that the salary cap is about to rise and Slaf ‘s agent probably won’t want to sign him long-term for a smaller amount, he’s going to need some convincing.

Basically, Roussel would rather sign Slaf for $8.5 million a year this summer than risk waiting another year for the price to rise to, say, $9.5 million a year.

That said, we know that the Habs’ salary scale is substantial. The captain’s annual salary ($7.875 million) is a ceiling amount, and as Kent Hughes stated last summer, he doesn’t necessarily intend to give a bigger annual salary to a guy in a similar situation.

Like Suzuki, Slaf would sign an extension with one year left on his entry-level contract. The situations are therefore identical… but as Roussel notes, the fact that the salary cap is increasing will change things. The market isn’t the same, basically.

And in fact, Roussel isn’t alone in wanting to sign Slafkovský for eight years as soon as possible. Vincent Damphousse said much the same thing on L’Antichambre last night, and we’ve seen Guillaume Latendresse and Bob Hartley say the same thing in recent weeks.

We’ll see what Kent Hughes does with his young Slovakian player over the coming weeks, but clearly, the issue will continue to be the talk of the town.

I also think he should be signed for eight years this summer, but I have a hard time seeing Slaf’s clan agreeing to it, let’s say. And since it takes two to dance…

In Brief

– Sean Couturier’s purgatory is (finally) over.

– This is increasingly true as the season progresses.

– Still.

– It’s hard for Jacob Perreault these days.

– News from March Madness.

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